Bitcoin mining software developers have released the first significant update in nearly a decade: Stratum V2.
Almost all Bitcoin miners use the Stratum protocol to secure and improve data transfer between mining pools, other miners and Bitcoin node operators.
The first version of the enterprise-grade open source protocol and its associated software have been extensively tested by the billion dollar mining industry for years.
Now the developers have made Stratum V2 available for testing. It is expected that most miners will stay on version 1 for some time, while some will thoroughly test V2. For Bitcoin miners, the update is a welcome and important change for the business.
Notable updates to Stratum V2
The update improves security and provides better support for slower, less reliable internet connections. The first version of Stratum released in 2012, V1, required each mining rig to present its work separately.
However, V2 adds an aggregator, allowing multiple mining machines to submit work to a mining pool collectively. In addition, it reduces the amount of data that needs to be submitted.
V2 also lowers the risk that an attacker could steal computing power from mining machine owners. It standardizes authentication, encryption protocols and messaging connections between machines and mining pools.
The developers hope to release a more refined, “production-ready” version of the Stratum V2 in early November. But even then, it can be difficult to convince miners to accept a new update as it may still contain flaws. As a result, mass adoption can take several years.
Stratum V2 will also add the option for mining machines connected to the pools to choose their work instead of the pools selecting the work for them. A senior Spiral employee, Steve Lee, says this feature will improve decentralization in bitcoin mining.
“Reaching 10% of the hashrate by the end of 2023 would be a huge success,” he told CNBC.
The support of Jack Dorsey and his company Block
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and his company Block (formerly Square) expressed their support for Stratum V2. Block is working with mining company Braiins to form a group that can test and refine the Stratum V2 before supporting adoption by other miners on the network.
The move advances Block’s support for improving bitcoin mining. In April, Dorsey announced a venture with Blockstream to build a solar-powered facility in Texas. Elon Musk’s Tesla will supply a 3.8 megawatt solar PV array and a 12 watt Megapack battery for the business.
An open-source version of Stratum V2 is now live. It's the first upgrade in more than a decade to the protocol used by virtually all #bitcoin miners. New version could help open mining to more participants by supporting lower-quality internet connections: https://t.co/kzFq5iUYsJ— MacKenzie Sigalos (@KenzieSigalos) October 11, 2022
“An open source version of Stratum V2 is now live. It is the first update in over a decade to the protocol used by virtually all #bitcoin miners. The new version could help open up mining to more participants, supporting lower quality internet connections,” wrote CNBC journalist MacKenzie Sigalos.
The Stratum V2 Is Not a “Bitcoin” Upgrade
It is worth noting that the software is not part of the Bitcoin network, but rather the ecosystem in some way. Stratum does not affect nodes, wallets, nor the development of Bitcoin Core. Each miner individually will upgrade from V1 to V2 if it helps their business to increase profitability and security.
The Stratum V2 also has the advantage of simplifying smaller mining operations, including home miners (home miners) whose Internet connection is slower or less reliable. This feature can be utilized by independent miners who were previously deterred from activity by their internet connections.
The developers hope to see miners customize slightly different implementations of Stratum V2 before committing to the upgrade. This month, Stratum only released a trial version.
In summary, Stratum V2 makes bitcoin mining more efficient, decentralized and secure than the first version of Stratum.